Stephen on the left, Michele at centre and our friend Maralyn who with her husband Dan, is a very regular visitor to Montone.
Yes, it's the middle of winter and the snow is falling (a few days after Christmas 2008). Despite a generally-held opinion, winter is a wonderful time to visit Umbria and Le Marche: a good chance of snow, often bright-blue skies (when it isn't snowing), good eating-and-drinking weather and not too many tourists. Of course, the rest of the year's pretty good, too.
ABOUT BELLE VACANZE
Belle Vacanze is owned and run by Australians, Stephen Jones and Michele Day. The properties we offer are owned by us or by friends and are in small, quiet and beautiful towns and villages of Umbria and Le Marche. Our aim is to ensure that our guests have a very enjoyable holiday, that the local people benefit and that the village is neither changed nor adversely affected by our presence.
We bought Casa Valdeste in December 2001. It was a ruin; it hadn't been lived in for about 40 years. With the help of our geometra, Paolo Montagini, we renovated the place during 2002, moved in in December 2002 and entertained our first guests in early 2003.
We live in Casa Valdeste, Montone, five to ten weeks every year, arriving in November or December and departing some time in January. We have established very good relations with the people of Montone, especially as we come from Australia which, for some strange reason, puts us way ahead of the Poms, Germans and Americans in their estimation .... even if we don't know Uncle Franco who moved to Melbourne in 1953.
It has been and continues to be a great and enjoyable ride, renewed every year as we drive up from the airport in Rome, bracing ourselves for the inevitable volley of "ben' tornati", "welcome back" from our friends, the delightful people of Montone. It is always wonderful, coming home.